CAMPAIGNS: HI-TECH PR; Flying the FLAG for fibreoptics

Client: FLAG (Fibreoptic link around the globe) Limited PR Team: EMC Euro PR & Marketing Consultants Campaign: Publicising the first section of FLAG laid in the Mediterranean Timescale: Jan 1996 Budget: pounds 20,000

Client: FLAG (Fibreoptic link around the globe) Limited

PR Team: EMC Euro PR & Marketing Consultants

Campaign: Publicising the first section of FLAG laid in the

Mediterranean

Timescale: Jan 1996

Budget: pounds 20,000



FLAG is a 17,000 mile, undersea, high-capacity fibreoptic cable that

will stretch from Cornwall to Japan. Due for completion in September

1997, it will provide telecommunications links between three continents

and 12 countries at a cost of pounds 750,000. On 5 January 1996, Cable &

Wireless (Marine) began laying the European section of the cable on

behalf of FLAG, off the coast of Italy.



Objectives



The project had already spent two years in the planning stage and was

privately financed. FLAG therefore, wished to present itself as

credible, cost-effective and technologically advanced to both end users

and carriers buying capacity across Europe and the Middle East.



Tactics



A rival joint project between France Telecom and Sing-apore Telecom was

holding a high-profile conference at the end of January, so EMC, FLAG’s

retained agency since 1992, and its EuroPR partners found themselves

with only a month to reach their objectives.



EMC, as managing agency, proposed a media relations campaign covering

broadsheets and the communications trade press across Europe. The aim

was to reach FLAG’s target audience of senior telecoms managers.



Difficulties in launching this pan-European campaign stemmed from

national differences. While the Spanish and Italians were interested in

a project happening on their doorstep, in the UK, the cable was not due

to be brought ashore until May, so commercial aspects of the project

were highlighted. Moreover, in view of France Telecom’s rival scheme, it

was important for FLAG’s message in France to heavily target end users.



Therefore, in each country the media was handled by individual EuroPR

members. However, in the week following the laying of the cable, EuroPR

coordinated a series of one-to-one media interviews with John

Mercogliano, FLAG’s European Vice President, in London, Paris, Milan and

Madrid. In addition, EuroPR distributed a VNR of the laying of the cable

to European news channels.



Results



Broadsheet coverage ranged from the Financial Times and the Independent

in the UK to Il Sole 24 Ore and Mondo Economico in Italy. The trade

titles Communication International and Communicate carried face-to-face

interviews with John Mercogliano. The VNR proved especially popular with

the prolific local cable stations and satellite news channels in Spain

and Italy.



Verdict



Within the limits of the budget, and as a one-off communications

opportunity, this campaign gained some impressive coverage in a short

time across the broadsheets and the trade press. With a rival breathing

down their necks, time was of the essence. ‘It was very critical for us

to get in front of the press,’ says Mercogliano.



Latest figures from FLAG puts 50 carriers from 45 countries taking

capacity with the company with sales of over pounds 250 million.

However, Mercogliano is the first to point out the difficulty in

evaluating exactly what factors influenced these purchasing decisions.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in